Gaining the encouragement you need

Marriage is not one continuous fairy tale.  Your husband is not perfect, and neither are you.  Therefore, you will experience times of disappointment, frustration, and even heartbreak.  The question is…what will you do during those “valley” times in your marriage?  How will you rally yourself and stay in the game?  Where can you find the motivation to fight for your marriage?

One powerful key to battling all the way through those valley times is to receive encouragement from other godly wives.  You NEED encouragement!  The enemy is going to be whispering discouragement to you.  He wants you to leave your husband.  He wants to destroy your family.  In John 10:10, Jesus says the enemy comes to “steal, kill and destroy“.  But we can counteract the enemy’s schemes by asking godly friends to speak truth to us.  Seek friendships with godly women who know the truth of God’s Word and who are encouragers.  Be an encourager in their lives as well.

Hebrews 3:13 says, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”  I’m strongly encouraging you to be an encourager for other women and to purposely spend time with several godly, female friends who encourage you.  You need encouragement to stay in the battle!  It’s worth it.  Jesus has a good plan for your marriage.  He has come that you “may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

Gaining courage to confront husband & set boundaries

Have you ever caved in when you should have set boundaries in a relationship because of the “what if” questions?  What if he leaves me?  What if he leaves me and I won’t be able to take care of myself?  What if he gets really upset if I confront him?  What if….?

When you find yourself paralyzed with fear because of the “what if” questions, it usually means one of three things.  Either you don’t really trust God when he says in Hebrews 13:5 that he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Or it means you have allowed the spirit of fear to dominate your thoughts.  Or it could mean that you have become your own worst enemy and convinced yourself you’ll never be able to set boundaries and stick to them.  In other words, you’ve pummeled yourself with negative self-talk!

You CAN overcome these paralyzing fears.  How about choosing to trust God’s promise to never leave your side (Hebrews 13:5)?  Maybe it’s time to command the spirit of fear to leave you, in the name of Jesus (2 Timothy 1:7).  Perhaps you need to stop telling yourself that you’ll fall to pieces if you respectfully draw a firm boundary. Coach your soul just like King David did throughout the Psalms.  Tell yourself you will not crumble.  Remind yourself you will not fall apart.  Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.”  With Jesus by your side, you have all you need.

3 questions to ask when you’re discouraged

Sometimes, we feel like we’ve reached the end of our rope!  You may be discouraged because you’ve been praying for God to change your husband’s attitude or behavior, and it’s just not happening.  You may be discouraged because you hoped your children would turn out a certain way, and they seem to be making bad decisions.  You may be discouraged because you’ve been searching for a new job and you can’t find one that fits your abilities and availability.  Now what?

Well, first, don’t give up praying.  In Luke 18:1, the Bible says…”Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.”  So, keep asking God for a miracle.   However, maybe it’s time to put on a new set of glasses.  Maybe you’ve been insisting that God do what YOU think is best, instead of praying that God’s perfect will be done.  Now is the time to ask God to reveal his perspective on this issue.  Why don’t you ask him these 3 questions, and then spend some quiet time listening for his response:

1)  Lord, can you help me to see this situation through your eyes?

2)  How are you trying to change me or teach me through this situation?

3)  Is there a lie the enemy is trying to get me to believe about this situation?

–or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO HERE

The good news in life’s dark valleys

None of us welcomes emotional pain and heartbreak.  Yet, on this earth, we know we will encounter trials and pain. Often, that pain is experienced in our marriage.  We can get really frustrated that God doesn’t seem to be answering our prayer to “fix” our marriage or husband!   But Jesus never promised he would take away all our problems during our temporary stay on earth.  In fact, he said in John 16:33 “in this world you will have trouble.”  Fantastic.

However, if you look closely, you will discover two rays of sunshine in the midst of your darkest hours.  First, Jesus finishes that verse in John 16:33 by saying, “But take heart!  I have overcome the world“.  That is a great reminder that though we will have temporary troubles here, Jesus has prepared an eternal destination for us that will be completely free of heartbreak and suffering.  It will be glorious beyond our imagination!

Secondly, and here’s the point I really wanted to make….it is at the time of our biggest heartbreak that we often experience God’s presence in a way we’ve never known before.  When we choose to cry out to him and seek him during our time of grief and suffering, he promises to come close.  Very close.  Psalm 34:18 says “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit“.  If you’re in the middle of a really difficult time in your marriage, don’t miss the opportunity to draw close to God and encounter his love, compassion and comfort at a spectacular level!

How Facebook can destroy your marriage!

It’s happened yet again. Another wife almost blew up her marriage, and it all started with Facebook.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not against Facebook.  I love keeping in touch with what’s happening in the lives of my friends and family through Facebook posts.  However, the devil takes warped delight in taking something good and turning it into something disastrous.

We need to be wise to his schemes to kill our marriages!  Here’s what the scheme looks like:  You become curious about that old boyfriend or man from your past, so you look him up on Facebook.  It seems totally innocent.  You’re just curious.  Then you pop him a little message asking how he’s doing.  He responds.  You guys reminisce about shared experiences in the past.  You begin bonding emotionally.  Then ever so slowly and slyly, Satan starts to reel you in.  Soon, you begin believing that he’s your true soul mate, and an affair is just a step away!  This is happening every day across America!  One recent post on a divorce website noted that 20% of all divorce petitions contain the word “Facebook”.

Don’t let this happen to you.  As wives, we must be aware of Satan’s schemes and we must fight against the temptation to connect with any man on Facebook.  1 Peter 5:8-9 says, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, firm in your faith…”    Please don’t shake off this warning.   Fight against the urge to connect with men from your past on Facebook!

Be sure to do this before giving advice to husband

My. My.  I guess I’m reminded once again about the power of our words.  A few days ago, I wrote a devotional about the power of pausing during a heated conversation with our men so that we refrain from responding with words that are harsh or mean….something we’ll likely regret later.  Well, today I was reminded of another reason to pause.  As women, we need to pause before we offer casual bits of advice or “wisdom” to our husbands.

I don’t think we realize how our guys are greatly influenced by us!   We might think they aren’t really paying that much attention to a casual suggestion we toss out, but often they are.  In fact, many husbands in the Bible were greatly influenced by something their wives said, and the wives rarely had good advice!  I think especially of Sarah telling Abraham to sleep with her servant in order for him to have a son, since she was getting impatient waiting for God to fulfill his promise to give her children! Read the story in Genesis 16:1-4 and you will find out Sarah’s decision didn’t turn out so well!

So, let’s think twice before we offer a morsel of our brilliant counsel during a conversation with our men.  I did this recently, and my husband acted upon it.  I hadn’t really even thought it through, let alone prayed about it. Thankfully, there was no harm done, but it got me to thinking about the need to really pause and pray about any suggestions or counsel I decide to pass on to my husband.  How about you?

One way to soften your husband’s heart

You want to know a sure fire way to soften your husband’s heart toward you?  Be humble and quick to apologize when you have been disrespectful toward him!  I say “when” instead of “if” you are disrespectful because ALL wives gravitate toward being disrespectful from time to time!  Much of the time, we don’t even recognize that we’re being disrespectful.

Let me give some examples.  You roll your eyes when he forgets to do something.  You sigh dramatically and shake your head about his “cluelessness” when he doesn’t meet your expectations.  You ask his opinion about something but then point out the flaws in his thinking.  You might even be disrespectful by giving him the silent treatment when he fails to eagerly pitch in to help with the household chores.

When a wife acts disrespectfully toward her husband, he often hardens his heart toward her as a means of self-protection.  So, if you would like to soften your husband’s heart toward you, ask God to help you catch yourself the minute you say or do something that communicates disrespect.  Then, be quick to sincerely and humbly apologize.  A powerful apology contains these words:  “I was wrong to ….” and “please forgive me”.  Your humility will go a long way in softening your man’s heart.  Humility is a virtue we need to intentionally put on every morning.  Colossians 3:12 puts it this way, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”